Individual health insurance is the simplest type of health insurance in that it covers just one person. There are many different options for individuals seeking health insurance. Knowing what is available is important in figuring out what options are best suited for each person. There are a few basic things an individual should know before selecting a personal health insurance plan.
Why Health Insurance is Necessary
Many feel that an individual health insurance policy is not a necessary expenditure like a life insurance policy may be. This could not be further from the truth, as we are all mortal, and even the healthiest people get sick or suffer from injuries at some point in their lives.
While many illnesses are easy enough to overcome without treatment, there are some illnesses that require a doctor visit, medication, or even hospitalization. Paying for these things without private health insurance can be more far more painful than the actual illness.
Individual health insurance covers different types of injuries as well. An active lifestyle increases the risk of accidental injuries and repairing broken bones can become very expensive. Car accidents seriously injure people every day. Paying outright for a hospital stay, x-rays, and other fees resulting from injuries can be enough to send many into bankruptcy.
Being prepared for an illness or accident improves the odds of recovering from it, both physically and financially.
There are many different individual health insurance plans. Knowing the basic features of each of them can help a person decide which plan is best for them.
Many health insurance plans allow those insured to choose a primary care physician. Preferred Provider Options (PPOs) allow each person to decide which physician to use, as well as the authority to visit a specialist without a referral.
Networks are another type of health insurance plan that allows its policyholders to decide who their physician will be. Networks are groups of health care providers who have agreed to offer discounted services to members of certain insurance policies.
As a member of a network, the policyholder is welcome to visit any doctor he or she wants. They can even visit doctors that are not a part of the network. However, they would not receive a discount with the off-network physician.
Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) offer another type of individual health insurance plan. In recent history, HMOs have fallen out of favor with many organizations. This is because HMOs are focused on keeping people healthy so they don’t develop serious, expensive conditions.
HMO’s generally offer low-cost or free preventative screenings in the hopes of warding off serious medical problems. Under this program, the insured is assigned a Primary Care Physician that determines if an extended service, such as a referral to a specialist is needed.
The Cost of an Individual Health Insurance Plan
Unfortunately, private health insurance is expensive. It just happens to be one of the expensive things in life that are actually worth their price.
A person’s lifestyle can have a lot of impact on how much they have to pay for individual health insurance. For instance, being healthy and active can reduce a person’s monthly insurance costs, but health insurance in California or another area with a high cost of living can increase them.
Being overweight has serious health implications that will most likely have a negative affect on health insurance quotes and rates. Smoking also increases the cost of an individual health insurance policy.
For a 23-year-old non-smoker in Oklahoma, rates between different insurance companies vary from $58 to $195 every month. Health insurance in Chicago for a 37-year-old smoker can be between $98 and $248. There are many factors that go into determining the price of individual health insurance. In many cases the cheaper of the options will be perfectly reasonable. This is why it is important to research all options available.
The Costs Of Not Having Medical Insurance
Individual health insurance is very important to those self-employed, unemployed, or those wanting different health coverage. Without insurance medical emergencies may be impossible to afford, leading to all kinds of financial problems. Even if a person is married, they may still need personal health insurance if they are not covered on their spouse’s policy. In these cases, individual policies can make it much easier to keep everyone in the family insured.
When planning for the future, health insurance is just as vital as any other form of investment. IRAs and 401Ks are helpful in saving for upcoming events; health insurance ensures that these funds continue to be saved, instead of used to bail a person out of a medical emergency.